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CNN, Covington Student Settle Defamation Suit for Unknown Amount

Jan. 8, 2020, 12:15 AM

CNN settled with Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann over allegations the network defamed him in connection with a videotaped confrontation that went viral nearly a year ago, the parties confirmed Jan. 7.

The parties didn’t disclose the settlement amount and details weren’t listed on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky docket.

CNN and Sandmann’s attorneys declined to comment on the settlement details.

Sandmann sought $275 million in damages after CNN “rushed to take advantage of the viral social media mob to further its anti-Trump agenda,” his January 2019 complaint said.

The network and other media outlets reported on Sandmann, who was on a school trip to Washington to participate in the annual March for Life, after a viral video purportedly showed a confrontation between his group and other activists on the National Mall.

“We will continue to pursue Nicholas Sandmann’s claims against NBC and The Washington Post,” Todd V. McMurtry, one of Sandmann’s attorneys, told Bloomberg Law. “We plan to add a number of additional defendants in the next 30 days or so.”

Sandmann also tweeted about the settlement: “Yes, We settled with CNN.”

McMurtry is a member of Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. Attorneys with L. Lin Wood PC also represented Sandmann, according to the docket. Ballard Spahr LLP and Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL represented CNN.

The case is Sandmann v. Cable News Network Inc., E.D. Ky., No. 19-cv-00031, settlement confirmed 1/7/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Bennett in Washington at jbennett@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com

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